Monday, May 19, 2014

(Exclusive) Interview With Michele Fletcher, CEO of LFF Publishing

"Being an entrepreneur is rough. It's a hard job, but somebody's got to do it. *laughs*"- Michele Fletcher, founder and CEO of La Femme Fatale Publishing

LFF (La Femme Fatale Publishing) has been in business for a decade. It is currently one of the leading publishing companies for African American authors and also a popular publishing firm for reality television stars. This publishing house contains many familiar faces we're used to seeing such as Somaya Reece, Rahidah Ali, and Erica Mena. Even Walnita Dacur, Lil Boosie's first baby's mother, has a book through LFF. You probably wonder how all of these strong opinionated women are able to sit down and be so productive off camera. Recently I was able to speak with Michele Fletcher, CEO of LFF.

Via LFF Publishing 
In the interview she revealed how it is being an entrepreneur, the difference between a publishing house and self-publishing, creating a balance between work and free time, and dealing with the different personalities on an everyday basis.

How Being An Entrepreneur Works And Why She Started Up La Femme Fatale Publishing
It's a 24 hour a day, every day work constantly to get things done because the whole teams relies on you. So that's how I got started and branded behind my concept of women, Femmes Puissantes, powerful women in French. So I believe that women have a lot to say, and women have a lot to contribute in their lives and women have a story to tell. 

All About La Femme Fatale Publishing
Basing my company around that, we have prospered. We've been in business for 10 years and we've been just doing well around the whole writing drama. I have been called the baddest publishing house in the industry. So many blogs have said LFF is doing they're thing.

How The Authors Are Chosen
We pick the people who want to tell a story and that's compelling and they actually come to us. They've heard good things, so we get them out there and get them going with their story. It's just every day hard work, believing in the women that are behind our line, and believing they all have a story to tell.

Whether Or Not Everyone Is Chosen
Everybody doesn't get accepted, so when you have a good story we will accept you and then it comes to me. So I've never went out there and found anyone. Everyone has come and submitted their stories and at that point we took over.

The Difference Between A Publishing House and Self Publishing
Self publishing is when an author finishes their book, companies out here that prints their book, and they print it for the regular basic sale; home sale, you know, sale at the church, local community. They do whatever they need to do.

For major publishing, that is what we do because we distribute to the major Barnes & Nobles, Books A Million, things of that nature.

How Is It Working With Reality Stars
We have some heated conversations. I handle them just like you would see them handle on tv. They have to come to my office.

People say 'Michele you've got everybody, Somaya Reece.' I have everybody in the gimmick in the industry under my eyes, people always say, 'how do you deal with all those personalities in all those ways?' and I always say you know what. Think about that actual, how you deal with them, how you do everything with them. You treat them as they want to be treated. So it's actually like a zoo. When it comes to animals birds chirp *laughs* when it's feeding time. You have those people who are really just as they are on tv and you have to heed to them accordingly. 

The Kinds of Personalities Michele Fletcher Comes In Contact With
I have everybody. Everybody has a personality. I have the quiet, timid, the passive mild mannered, the passive aggressive. I have the aggressor. I have everybody, so everybody's attitude and work position is different and we just handle it as a business. It's a business first, but if you want to handle it as a comfort zone, if you want to have special treatment and things like that, there are some people on my line that has nothing to do with reality shows. They're just normal human beings. 

Not Every Reality Star Writes Autobiographies
Rashidah Ali wrote a fiction book. Who else do you we? Somaya Reece is writing about health and fitness, so it's not reality in reference to (reality). It's only one person that really wrote on their life. It was an autobiography, so editing it was very different. It was compelling. You don't know which way to turn when someone is trying to tell America something and let everything out.

How Michele Fletcher Takes A Break From The Business World
Family helps me get that reasoning. It gives me a sense of calm because when I'm dealing in my life with work everyday it's hard. I can tell you all of the experience of everybody's life comes on me, dealing with people, this process in life, you know feeling for them as a person, but then you have to deal with the contract of everything, so I would say family. For me, how I relax is visiting family, spending time with family, spending time with my loved ones. I don't do that without goodness at hand, meaning that I'm always working with my family. So my family sometimes kinda says, 'Can you put the phone down? Can you put the computer down? The phone stopped ringing.'

I love the water. Water brings peace to me. I love to be at peace. I love to write. Sometimes as an entrepreneur you feel your company is not going to go on without you, but sometimes you have to make it go on without you, because you can't let it control you. You  can't let it take over you. 

Whether Or Not The Authors Get Along
I have over 120 women and yes we spotlight reality. We spotlight a lot of stars from it. But you've got a ton people with more issues than reality people do. Sometimes I think they need a reality show.

One particular LFF author that is not from reality shows is Shari Solomon. Shari is an adult entertainer from Miami.

I try to be a mother figure to these women, but I also have to stand firm on my job. It's more of when you're dealing with women on their everyday life and they're coming to you because they have a story, they write a story, they get information on publishing, they cannot function on doing their job as an author because they have life issues. So when their life issues become a problem then it takes over their job as an author. Then they cannot do their job as an author, and when they can't do their job as an author then their in trouble being an author. One thing leads to another and it's just a constant back and forth, so you have to keep them straight and on the narrow. You have to keep them straight understanding life, understanding this is a job.

The misconception of Authors
The misconception of author is they believe, 'I write a book. I've done my job.' But there are a million authors out here. So what sets you apart? You have to be about your job and that's hard, and a lot of authors don't attach the two. And when they don't attach the two it becomes problematic when its down to the nitty gritty for the sales and how you sale, and they have to have marketing, and how do they get their product out, and how do they do this, and how do they do that.

The Demands Authors Have And How They Reveal Self Esteem Issues
I have one author says that she can't write unless a fireplace is on or she lives through the characters that she's writing about because she wish she could have done something in her life when she was a child. She wish she could have followed her career as wanting to be a doctor. She didn't follow her career, so all her characters in her fiction book are about things she wish she could have accomplished. Then you have the writer who is always abusing men in the books, because they're being sent home by their men. 

In any publishing house business is writing period. It has a lot to do with self esteem and how women take time with themselves. 

 You can find out more about LFF Publishing on their website.

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